Best way to move flock to new house?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Noi, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. Noi

    Noi Chirping

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    Those who have moved a large flock (30+), what's the best way to do it?

    On the one hand, I'd like to introduce them to our new house in daytime so they can enjoy it (and I can enjoy watching them in our brand new coop and run which are being built), but it'll be easier to catch them into crates when they've gone to roost...
    Though most aren't skittish, I'm sure they won't like being caught and carried by us...

    And I don't want to mess with their hierarchy or something by placing the wrong one on a higher roost or something
    They are 11-18 weeks old, no-one's laying yet, out of 33 four are cockerels. All get along great.

    (Before and after pictures they heard my car a 20190821_193543.jpg 20190821_193826.jpg nd came running to the gate to beg to free range )
     
  2. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    Beautiful flock!
    How far away is the new house? How many dog crates do you have access to?
    When I moved my flock into their new coop, I just had to walk across the yard! But I took the birds off the roost one at a time and carried them over to the new coop and put them in at dusk but left the lights on for the night in the new coop so they could explore and get their bearings. They acclimated very well.
     
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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Good questions.

    Easiest would be to put hem in crates after dark, drive them over and put them in the new coop....then leave then in the new cop for at least a few days to a week before ranging them.
    Don't worry about hierarchy, they'll figure it out.
     
  4. Noi

    Noi Chirping

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    Thank you! We love our diverse flock :)

    I have 2 XL crates (plastic) and one medium.
    It's a 15ish min. drive...
    So if we do it at dusk when they've finally gone to roost, they'll be getting to the new house in darkness.

    And I'm not sure I'll have a light on in the coop, though. May take us longer to get electricity out there (I can use a battery light of some sort). But won't going from darkness to artificial light and back to pitch black when we turn the light off mess them up?
     
  5. Noi

    Noi Chirping

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    Yeah...
    Maybe for once I'll go with easy :lau

    They won't range for a while at the new place, but they will have a nice, huge run to explore during the day and we will help them into the coop each night until they get it.
     
  6. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    You don't turn the light off. It stays on all night. You turn it off in the morning.
     
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I'd wait until full dark. Fill crates and cardboard boxes if need be.
    Put them on new roosts and leave the light off, they can wait until morning to 'see' what's up. Feed and water in coop, I'd still leave them in coop for a day or so, then let them out into run...then less likely to have to herd them in at night.
    Will you be there in the morning, I assume you will move birds after you've moved the rest of the household?
    Grats on the new place, hang in there, big job moving house is.
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    I really have never had trouble with birds not moving from the run into a coop. This always surprise me when people do. The roosts will be the best place to roost, they will want to roost, and will find it. Maybe it is because my pop up door is at ground level.

    As to the chickens - just move them when you want. Easier to catch at night, but really they will only be momentarily stressed if you catch them in the daytime.

    You are worrying about nothing. The pecking order won't change. They will find feed, water and a place to sleep, and as they are not laying, they won't stop laying. If they were laying, they probably would for a couple of days, but like teenagers - they will be wildly excited and then go to sleep. They will be fine the next morning.

    Mrs K
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    And I don't want to mess with their hierarchy or something by placing the wrong one on a higher roost or something

    You won't, whether you put them on a roost when you move them or not. When I move mine at night I just toss them on the coop floor. I don't see any benefit to putting them on the roosts. If they sleep on the floor it will not hurt them, immature chicks and broody hens do it all the time. The next night they will sort out where they sleep in accordance with the pecking order no matter whether I put them on the floor or on the roosts.

    Personally I'd do what I think is best or most convenient for me. The chickens will sort it out whether you move them during the day or at night. Since it is a change with a new coop and new sleeping roosts don't be surprised to see some adjustments to the pecking order either way. If they are all sleeping in the same coop now it probably won't be that major, but with that age difference there might be issues.

    If you move them during the day I'd want to be there to observe what happens. If you move them at night I'd be there the next morning when they wake up to make sure there are no serious issues. There never are when I move my immature chicks into the main coop with the adults at night but I still check each time. You have a different flock and a different coop so I don't know what will happen. Mine range together for a month or more before I move them so they are not strangers.

    I've never moved 30+ chickens from one coop to another but I move immature chicks several times a year. You may or may not have issues with those age differences, I don't know. So observing will be a good idea.

    I sometimes have issues with getting them to sleep in the new-to-them coop. Sometimes I don't. I've never had a flock with the ages you have, mine are either all the same age or it's chicks nixed with with mature adults. Often there are various aged groups of chicks and adolescents mixed in with the adults. And I'm sure my coop looks different to yours.

    One thing I've noticed is that more mature chickens, either adults or just older chicks, often don't want immature chicks sleeping with them on the roosts. You may be seeing this now with your flock, or they may be the exception. The more mature can be brutal when sorting out where they want to sleep so the immature often look for a safer pale to sleep. I don't care where that is as long as it is not my nests and is somewhere predator-safe. If that safe-to-them place is in the run, I wait until it's dark enough to easily catch them and lock them in the coop for the night, putting them on the coop floor. Sometimes they get the message after one time, sometimes it can take over a week. But eventually they get the message and find their own place to sleep inside the coop.

    You may not have any of these issues, I hope not. If you do, it's not because of whether you move them during the day or night but because of flock dynamics and a change. Good luck!
     
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  10. Noi

    Noi Chirping

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    Central VA
    My thanks to all of you who have taken the time to respond.
    Much appreciated.

    The flock is already living together, and have been for 8 weeks. Most of them (mixed ages) sleep together in a pile in their low, open sided coop. About 12 (of the younger ones) sleep on the top of that low coop, together.

    They'll actually have a much bigger coop, and lots of roosting space.
    So I'm really hoping they will be excited like teenagers and live there with no issues ;-)

    Thank you for the advice regarding the actual move. Maybe I'm overthinking this thing.
    I'm kind of leaning towards a day-time move just so I can watch them and make sure there are no issues. I'm not good at getting up at dawn to go check on them LOL.
     
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